Toolkit: Take Action Tuesday #6: Power Mapping

Intro

Last night Greenpeace hosted a training on how to use power mapping to drive change. 

This toolkit will provide everything you need to catch up if you missed the call. 

We hope to keep growing and expanding our impact, from calling on Congress to holding corporations responsible for polluting our communities and ecosystems.  Our action doesn’t stop at the call. 

Below is everything you need to take action with Greenpeace! 

What we learned

KNOW: Collectively we have people power and we must utilize it to tear toxic systems down.

DO: A breakdown analysis of power: who holds it, wields it, and influences it.

FEEL: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker

Why Power Mapping?

Six degrees of separation, of Kevin Bacon.

Six Degrees of Separation 

  • When strategizing your campaign it’s important to identify all the potential stakeholders, their relationships, and your relationships to them. 
  • Everyone in the world is connected somehow, and those connections matter when you are trying to influence people to support your mission. 
  • The first step you want to take when identifying all relevant people you want to target in your campaign. Everyone, both supportive and opposing, has a connection. The connection is vital to understand. 
  • Need a fun example? How is Samuel L. Jackson connected to Kevin Bacon? Samuel L. Jackson was in Pulp Fiction with John Travolta. John Travolta was in Face Off with Nicholas Cage. Nicholas Cage was in Honeymoon in Vegas with Sarah Jessica Parker. Sarah Jessica Parker was in Footloose with Kevin Bacon.

Power Mapping

Determine your target

  • You can map around an issue, person, or institution. As you can see in this graphic on the right, the target Mr. X is a local official.
  • Keep in mind as you’re starting that you may have overlapping power maps until you come up with the best one to solve your problem.

Map influence of the target

  • You can create circles around your target with the influence. In the graphic above, you can see that there is Mr. Z a rich and powerful citizen for example who has a close connection to the target.
  • Don’t limit yourself in this phase — you’ll want to get as specific and detailed as possible. Since it’s better to get it all out now then to go back later and realize a piece that may have been critical in helping to move your target. Every little bit here counts as we try and build a bigger network to stop the target from doing awful target-y things.
  • What isn’t illustrated, in the above graphic, is that it’s best to expand the bubbles as far out as possible so you can connect bubbles to Mr. Z for what may influence Mr. Z which can influence the target Mr. X

Determine relational power lines

  • We’ll want to get the names and people associated with the influencers in the outer rings and figure out where are there connections. We can see in the graphic that Mr. Y is the tailor of Mr. G the religious leader who influences Mr. X…. I wonder how we can utilize that?
  • This is also a good place to begin doing some research into each person or influence — there may be connections you’ve never thought of!  Some people will have many connections while others may not have any. 

Analyze priority relationships

  • One way to do this is to circle the few people that have the most relational power lines drawn to them. Involving these people through current relationships may be deemed a priority. 
  • Another thing to consider may be a person or institution in the map that doesn’t necessarily have many different relational lines running connected to it but has a few critical ones and seems to hold a lot of influence.
  • If you can identify a priority person/institution for which there isn’t a clear relationship, the take away may be to go and do some more research about this person/institution.

Make a plan

  • Here you may now want to determine the best approaches to accessing these individuals and institutions through relationships and who will be responsible for what by when. 
  • You can also draw up some other ways to break down power mapping and begin thinking of tactics like direct action, striking, divestment, etc. Maybe your first step is to just scope with conversation.
  • There is no right and wrong way with power mapping and the more you experiment the more you learn and help others learn as well!

Final Pointers

  • Here you may now want to determine the best approaches to accessing these individuals and institutions through relationships and who will be responsible for what by when. 
  • You can also draw up some other ways to break down power mapping and begin thinking of tactics like direct action, striking, divestment, etc. Maybe your first step is to just scope with conversation.
  • There is no right and wrong way with power mapping and the more you experiment the more you learn and help others learn as well!

Homework and Resources

Homework

  1. Pick one of the targets we provide for you or pick your own for fun!
  2. Get Creative and Power Map as much as you can around your target
  3. Share your draft with us and tag @greenpeaceusa! Or don’t share it if you’ll be utilizing it for real!

Resources

Make sure to check out our power mapping resources.

Stay in the loop & Join future calls

Take Action Tuesdays are new, so make sure to stay in the loop. 

  1. Check out our other calls – including Earth Day Live next week and then Take Action Tuesday – in our volunteer call calendar!
  2. Join our Greenpeace Action Calls where we will learn together, take action together, and build community during these difficult times. Sign up here to access our Volunteer Call Calendar and get updates on upcoming opportunities! 
  3. Join our Greenpeace slack to talk with other Greenpeace volunteers, ask questions and be the first to hear about new opportunities to take action.
  4. Weren’t able to make the call? Check out the slides. Watch the recording

Thank you for taking action & staying positive,

Supporter Mobilization (SupMob) Team at Greenpeace USA

Got any questions?

Supporter Mobilization Team in a recent Zoom Meeting

If you have any questions or run into any issues, reach out to the Supporter Mobilization Team at [email protected]